September is “Holiday Prep Month!” Did you think spring cleaning was only a once-a-year event? With three major holidays approaching in just under three months, September is the logical month to ensure that your home is prepared for the onslaught of visitors, cold weather, and holiday paraphernalia. Here are a few things that should be on your fall home maintenance checklist:

  • Schedule a professional checkup for your heating system. Now is the time to find problems, not when it’s freezing outside.
  • If you have a fireplace, get it inspected and cleaned before you begin to use it for the winter.
  • Vacuum your heat registers and air return ducts. Or better yet, have a professional team clean your air duct system. If you have owned your house for several years, you may be surprised at the amount of dust and debris that can build up in your ductwork.
  • Close foundation vents. If you don’t have automatic foundation vents installed, you’ll have to close them manually. You typically can access these vents by crawling into the crawl space beneath your house. This prevents heat loss from underneath your home during the colder months.
  • Clean gutters and make sure downspouts are open. If the water can’t drain, it can seep in under your shingles.
  • Seal drafty doors and windows. Check caulk around windows and weather stripping around doors and replace as needed.
  • Locate your snow and leaf removal tools—blowers, and plows. Make sure they’re serviced and ready to go.
  • Winterize or insulate exterior faucets and water lines. Schedule to have your sprinkler system serviced for the winter.
  • Remove, clean, and store summertime screens.

Consider taking care of some things inside the house now too, particularly if you’re expecting company during the holidays. Taking care of some of these items now can relieve a lot of stress as your calendar fills up closer to the holidays.

  • Get your guest rooms ready for holiday company while you have the time. If your guest room doubles as a storage area, start clearing out items now so that the room is ready by the time the holidays arrive. Clear out a drawer or two in a bureau for your guests to use—your guests may be more comfortable if they don’t have to live out of a suitcase.
  • If you have pull-out couches that will be used, open them up, air them out, and schedule a professional cleaning, if necessary.
  • Schedule your carpets to be professionally cleaned.

A little preventative maintenance and some prior planning can mean fewer headaches this winter and a more relaxing and enjoyable holiday season with family and friends.